Ale lamb bolognese is so incredibly satisfying to cook a while it’s pouring outside! Especially when you have a few more bottles of the same ale to drink while cooking and eating.
Last night our ale of choice was 90 Shilling – Odell Brewing Co.’s flagship ale for almost a gazillion years. Everyone around here knows 90 Shilling and they also know that in reality it doesn’t look red like in the picture on the brewery’s site:). It is a beautiful dark amber color, it is fragrant, it is sweet and toasty, and it is medium bodied and crisp. As in you can have a few if you had to, without any effort.
90 Shilling is a lighter version of traditional Scottish ales (ahem, do you see why we picked it on a rainy, foggy day?) and it never disappoints. As a recipe ingredient it is perfect to use with a variety of foods – most recently I braised baby bok choy with it, sooo good, I will post the recipe soon.
Chris wouldn’t let me put more than one carrot in the ale lamb bolognese, so I resorted to roasting baby carrots as ‘garnish’. (Seriously, whoever garnishes a pasta dish with a bunch of beer glazed carrots? Hehe. But he knows of the benefits of not arguing with the post author:) Plus, they really are an awesome side. I got to serve them though and we ate them and he praised them!
As for the choice of pasta for this sauce – you have to go papardelle. It is necessary. You need to have wonderful al dente wide bands with which to mop up the deliciousness. Even I agree and ate the papardelle, which is a huge deal. I have issues with pasta thicker than fettuccine – the texture doesn’t agree with me, or maybe my gagging reflex doesn’t agree with the texture. I know… even though it tastes good, I cannot keep it down. Getting better lately, but not holding my breath for the day when I will be stuffing my face with ravioli. Probably won’t happen.
Ts, ts, ts… But hey, some people cannot swallow cooked mushrooms and this is way, way worse:) In any event, we won’t be posting a ton about penne and other thick and fancy shaped pasta products, I apologize. Unless Chris fixes himself a meal that I feel should make it here:)
For the record, before moving on to the recipe, please know that we did cook the ale lamb bolognese in a dutch oven. It is just that I had a certain set up in mind for the picture.
It’s hard to photograph food in dutch ovens when using artificial light and I had to go there because of the prolific rainy weather we have been having. Bad, bad light. I transferred the sauce to a smaller sauce pan for the picture and totally hurried through the process, because when something smells and looks this delicious Chris is not too happy holding up a daylight lamp and shining it onto a set up. Me neither.
So we chose not to let the sauce get cold and shorted the picture taking. What would you do?
Recipe for Ale Lamb Bolognese
- 1 lb ground lamb
- 1/2 lb pappardelle
- 1 small yellow onion diced
- 1 medium carrot diced very small
- 1 amber or other ale with dry finish and low IBU i.e. not bitter
- 1 garlic clove peeled
- 1/4 cup dry mushrooms
- 1/2 cup good quality tomato sauce
- 1/4 cup water
- 2 tbsp butter
- 1/4 cup Parmesan grated plus more for garnish
- pinch of salt
- pinch of pepper
- 2 fresh thyme sprigs
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 fresh rosemary sprig
- Put the thyme, bay leaf, rosemary and garlic in the middle of a piece of cheesecloth and make an herb sachet using kitchen string.
- Heat a dutch oven or a heavy bottomed deep pan over medium-high heat.
- Melt 1 tbsp of the butter and cook the ground lamb, making sure it is browned all over.
- Add the onion and carrot, stir well and cook until they begin to get soft.
- Add the beer and scrape any brown bits from the bottom of the pan.
- Bring to boil and add the water.
- Add the herb sachet.
- Add the mushrooms and tomato sauce.
- Season with salt and pepper.
- Stir well and cover.
- Let simmer over medium-low heat for about 1 hour, checking once in a while to stir.
- In about an hour, cook pasta in pot of salted water.
- When ready (7 min for al dente), strain, reserving some of the water.
- Remove the herb sachet form the sauce, add the Parmesan and other 1 tbsp butter and stir. If too thick, add a little bit of the reserved pasta water and stir until nice and creamy.
- Add pasta to sauce and stir well.
- Serve immediately.
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